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What Indonesia's Bailout Should Teach Its Neighbors (Int'l Edition)

International -- Readers Report


The International Monetary Fund's attempt to impose financial discipline on Suharto Inc. is good news. ("Can the IMF wrestle down Suharto Inc.?" Cover Story, Nov. 17). In this process, the links between the Suharto government and Suharto's businesses will become more transparent.

This will set the stage for neighboring countries to adopt sound economic measures instead of mere political posturing, as is common. What is more interesting is that Indonesia is the last country one would expect to succumb to such disciplinary measures, which means that the rest of Asia can follow Indonesia's example.

Thads Bentulan

Hong KongReturn to top


Jiang Zemin's recent visit to the U.S. and the dealmaking going on cannot obscure the fact that China has already become an important industrial and potential military power ("Rescuing Asia," Cover Story, Nov. 17). While far from being anti-Chinese, I do believe that the current U.S. foreign policy--of strengthening ties with Japan and Taiwan before accepting the overtures of the Chinese--is the correct one. Pressing the Chinese to become a more democratic society is vital. It is important that such a strategy should be pursued until such time as a long-term policy framework can be put in place by the Clinton Administration.

Florian Pantazi

Brasov, RomaniaReturn to top


If anything obvious can be ascertained at all from the latest global financial upheaval, it is that a higher integration of the world's economies tends to globalize the negative effects of economic cycles and negative regional events ("After the shock," Cover Story, Nov. 10).

The positive benefits that could possibly emerge from higher international economic integration are many, but they are by no means a panacea. A "new world order" does mean new world problems. As world economic integration becomes more evident at different levels, we have to question whether we have the proper institutional means and policy responses to deal with the implications of integrated economic and financial markets among different nation-states.

Higher interdependence of economic factors will require higher economic coordination among nations, but the problem is not simply one of economic proportions. It is also necessary to improve and expand existing international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.

In a world where large economies have enjoyed a number of years of positive economic performance, some may forget that real economic cycles do still exist and that unless we begin to build "New World organizations" we might experience a new, structurally different, but just as painful worldwide economic recession.

Joaquin Lopez Oroz


Tarahumara Corp.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Stock exchanges were not created to lead gamblers--who have no commitment to companies or employees and who are too lazy for honest work--to quick and unreal gains at the expense of society at large. A mid-course correction must bring this errant vehicle back to its original course and purposes: marrying capital with production and technology, providing decent returns to both sides, and sustaining economic growth and employment.

In full awareness of the cataclysmic implications that can result from stock trading--not just their economic ones--we propose worldwide regulation that would prohibit the trading of shares prior to twelve months of ownership.

Hanns John Maier

Ubatuba, BrazilReturn to top

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